The book chosen to review for this assignment is entitled Decision Points. The author of the book is a worldwide known former President of the United States of America, George Walker Bush, one of the most criticized and extraordinary politician of his time. This is an autobiography which examines the key policy decisions on the global issues through a prism of time. There was much criticism of this book, as well as of the presidency of George Bush, but the former President set out to analyze all his strengths and weaknesses to help the future generations to build a stable and democratic state. This book can be called a report on the activities of George Bush during his presidency and not only. The years of the presidency were not easy. In this regard, the natural disasters, the acts of terrorism and the global financial crisis of that time must be mentioned. The book became a bestseller after its presentation.
According to Bush (2010), the main purpose of this book is expressed by the words:
My goals in writing this book are twofold. First, I hope to paint a picture of what it was like to serve as president for eight consequential years. I believe it will be impossible to reach definitive conclusions about my presidency—or any recent presidency, for that matter—for several decades. The passage of time allows passions to cool, results to clarify, and scholars to compare different approaches. My hope is that this book will serve as a resource for anyone studying this period in American history. (p. 9)
The cover shows the readers the confident politician with a strong facial expression, who goes towards the future. Over 1.5 million copies were sold in the first days of the appearance of the book. The fee for the book was 7 million dollars.
There are a lot of pictures in the book, which allows a better understanding of the matter. In his frank and contradictory work, the former President of the United States George Bush gives a description of the crucial decisions that were the most influential in his presidency and personal life. The decisions he took were important not only for the United States of America but for the whole world. In his memoirs, George Bush is honest and self-critical. He wrote the work with the assistance of former White House Deputy Director of Speechwriting Christopher Michel.
There are 14 chapters in the book. Each of them touches a certain period of ex-President’s life and American history. Decision Points reveals the essence of 14 separate President’s decisions, which were made during his administration of the country. In the first and the second chapters, George Bush narrates about his life before the presidency. As every autobiography, this book contains events that occurred in author’s childhood and youth. He told about his parents, family, wife, and children because these facts contributed largely to his personal development and thus made him one of the key politicians of the twentieth century.
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The first chapter is entitled “Quitting” and relates notable events of Bush’s earlier life such as his decision to quit drinking in 1986 when he was 40. The ex-President emphasizes that it was one of the most important decisions of his life and his wife Laura helped him very much in this choice. Bush told readers how he decided to run for Governor of Texas and after that President of the United States of America in the second chapter of the book, “Running”.
The following twelve chapters are about decision points of George Bush during his presidency: the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; America’s aid to developing countries and the third world countries; a decision to deploy more troops to Iraq in 2007; different reforms including Social Security reform, No Child Left Behind, and Immigration reform; the government’s assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina; his part in embryonic stem-cell research.
The last chapter is about the financial crisis of 2008. The author also talks about business relationships with world political leaders on the pages of his book.
There exist both weaknesses and strengths in Decision Points. It is true that the former President is not ashamed to admit his own mistakes. That is why the book is bought by people who are quite far from the approval of his political position. They want to understand the nature of his disputable decisions.
The style of the book is clear and concise but sometimes modernist and extravagant. The strength of this book is that the writer states no ordinary biography, or, in other words, a dry chronological list of events. He concentrates his attention on 14 key concepts of his life that are directly connected with American history.
The controversial figure of the former President in the book is of special interest to the readers. Those who sympathized with Bush read his memoirs to understand his policy in detail, and those who opposed his presidency bought it to ridicule ambition and improvidence of the 43rd President. However, all readers were curious to know whether the retired politician would dare to talk about hitherto unknown facts. A very strong and interesting part of the book is a revelation of Bush that the absence of weapon of mass destruction became a great surprise for him and caused a sense of shame. The admission that the global crisis in the White House was actually expected is truly intriguing. Financial analysts and experts warned the President that the machinations of large corporations will lead to problems.
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Bush chooses words that help readers to understand that the decisions to start the war in Afghanistan, to send troops to Iraq and others were extremely difficult to take. Undoubtedly the ex-President did cleverly when he made a decision to surround himself with professionals of different areas of social, economic and political life.
The era of George W. Bush was complicated, contradictory and unpredictable. We can say that it changed not only the history course of America but world history as a whole. The average reader cannot agree with many decisions the former President made because they were frightfully cruel and innocent people suffered from them. However, due to the decision points of the former President nowadays America is a respected country.
Bush's decisions were quite pragmatic. This book sheds light on the events that determined the course of history.
Decision Points can be called an innovation in the world literature which has undoubtedly surprised critics. It captivates supporters and changes one’s view on the remarkable eight years of White House history.
On the pages of his work George Bush firmly states that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and his regime was a serious peril for the world (Bush, 2010). Bush’s opinion that the threat of weapons of mass destruction cannot be ignored is very correct.
Bush (2010) declared the following:
My first choice was to use diplomacy. Unfortunately, our track record with Iraq was not encouraging. We maintained a bilateral relationship with Baghdad in the 1980s. We obtained UN Security Council resolutions in the 1990s. Despite our engagement, Saddam grew only more belligerent.
If diplomacy was going to succeed, we needed a fundamentally different approach. We believed Saddam’s weakness was that he loved power and would do anything to keep it. If we could convince him we were serious about removing his regime, there was a chance he would give up. (p. 301)
He justifies the attacks on Iraq claiming that destroying weapons of mass destruction he will give his country peace.
The most moving episode in the book and the history of the United States is September, 11, 2001. Every citizen fears for his life. That was a moment of decision.
Bush (2010) confesses:
I looked at the faces of the children in front of me. I thought about the contrast between the brutality of the attackers and the innocence of the children. If I stormed out hastily, it would scare the children and send ripples of panic throughout the country. (p. 161)
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For those who doubt, he proves his desire to lead the country. The United States faced crucial problems and Bush proves that he could solve them.
Bush sheds light on a compromise with scientists about stem cell research. The episode when the author expresses his ethical dilemma with stem-cell research is really touching. Members of White House administration were consulted properly about the pros and cons of the significant issue. He did it in order to find a way to avoid encouraging abortions.
George Bush is not afraid to be extremely frank in writing about such a dreadful episode. In his childhood, his mother had a miscarriage and George in his teens saw an embryo of a child.
It is obvious that George Bush had made mistakes. In spite of all the forces working against him, he never lost his determination to lead his country toward a better day. He will have respect and appreciation of the readers for some decisions.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that almost every famous person wrote memoirs of his life. Such a person like George W. Bush had to write it to explain to citizens of America the essence of his decisions.
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The work is written from the point of view of a person whose decision points were the most important for his country. The main ideas of the book are closely connected with the observations concerning American Government and Politics.I believe that government must respect human rights and the freedom to live their lives making their own decisions.
The author tries to give information, to explain the reasons, to convince the reader that he has always been concerned about the fate of the American people. The book is written in the form of autobiography, but it is not a simple chronological order. There are 14 independent stories. It makes the work more interesting to read. The intended audience of Decision Points is people who are interested in politics and all citizens of the United States. The style of the book is informal. The style of writing is coherent, clear, and original. The author uses technical words correctly. It suits the intended audience.
The book affects the readers considerably. Some of their previous ideas change and reinforce due to this book. This work achieves its goal well.
After reading this book, the readers can conclude that George Bush is one of those people for whom the end justifies the means.
This book should be recommended to those who have not read it. People have to form their own opinion about George Bush's presidency, and correctness and necessity of his decisions.